PICSS Annual Security Assessment Report 2016 provides an overview of the year, national and provincial security profiles, geo-political developments in the region, and emerging threats and challenges to Pakistan. 2016 was another year with downwards trend in anti-State violence bringing the overall trends below the level of 2007 when rise in home-grown religious militancy was seen after Lal Masjid Operation. 27 percent decline in number of attacks and resultant deaths was recorded in 2016 but an unprecedented 26 percent increase in number of injured was also observed courtesy to some high profile militant attacks. Average militant attacks per month has further dropped in 2016 from 60 to 42 which was 161 before June 2014 when Operation Zarb-e-Azb was started. In overall picture of two years after adoption of National Action Plan, the country witnessed 68 percent reduction in militant attacks, 62 percent decline in resultant deaths and 48 percent decrease in injuries. More than 970 people were killed and 1844 others were injured in 513 militant attacks during the year. Balochistan remained most troublesome part of the country with maximum attacks and deaths while all other administrative units saw improvement in security situation with varying degrees. Not a significant reduction in suicide attacks as compared to 2015 was recorded as 16 suicide attacks were recorded in 2016. The month of September saw highest number of suicide attacks after June 2014. Although target killing dropped but it was more focused on Police as it lost more than 45 personnel including four officers of DSP rank. Number of IEDs declined as well as quality of their making with lower number of deaths suggesting resource constraints and weakening capabilities of the group. However, some high profile IED attacks were also carried out during the year such as blast targeting government servants in Peshawar. The year also saw a rise in high profile attacks, which shows regrouping of militants and emergence of new threats in the form of DAESH, which has established alliance with anti-Pakistan militant groups. DAESH for the first time claimed responsibility of attacks in Pakistan while Jamat-ul-Ahrar taking over TTP in lead role in attacks in Pakistan with Lashkar-e-Jhanvi Al-Aalami expanding its tentacles outside Balochistan into KPK and Sindh pose serious challenges for Pakistan in 2017. Meanwhile Al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) remained more active in Karachi while DAESH’s footprints were more visible in central Punjab.
Karachi Operation saw significant improvement in diminishing capabilities of militant groups but the city could not control ever rising street crimes, which dents the overall security outlook of the city. Debate is still underway on implementation of National Action Plan however, considerable progress has been seen on many points during 2016 nevertheless many points need serious focus and attention of the federal and provincial governments.Although Pakistani security forces made considerable gain in their fight against militants that helped improvement in security situation in the country, yet the issue of militancy is yet to be completely eradicated. The overall progress on counter-terrorism and counter-extremism demonstrated mix results. Provinces made notable efforts to operationalize and make effective the counter-terrorism departments of police. However, some confusion regarding various aspects of security among provinces and federation remained. Federal government has not been able to make NACTA fully functional though some positive developments took place in the authority including establishment of Joint Intelligence Directorate. Despite some questions and figure pointing, Karachi operation progressed well during the year for improving overall security
situation in Karachi although street crimes continue to remain a head-ache.On external front, Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan and India deteriorated in this year while some improvement in Pakistan’s bilateral relations with Iran and Russia was observed.
Some semblance of coldness in Pakistan-US relations was observed. Pakistan’s strategic and economic relations with China were enhanced with positive developments on infrastructural projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Pakistan was also able to operationalize Gwadar port partially though still a lot more work is required to be done to make the port and trade route fully functional.
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